Early in Eavan Boland’s dazzling new book, A Journey with Two Maps: Becoming a Woman Poet, she tells a story: when she was a young poet and mother living in the suburbs of Dublin, she went into the city one day and happened to walk by an art gallery where she spied in the window a painting she immediately recognized as her mother’s work — her green vase, her beloved lily-of-the-valley, her pair of gloves. Boland entered the gallery and inquired about the painting. The gallery owner, quoting a very high price, named the artist — the man who had taught her mother to paint. There was no doubt the painting was her mother’s, so Boland checked the bottom right of the canvas where her mother usually placed her signature: sure enough the painting was signed by her teacher. “His signature. Her painting. Her vision. His price. And that was that.”
But that is not that at all.